CAtArINa’s Dictionary - Book III (sketch)

CAtArINa’s Dictionary_narrative & methodology

CAtArINa’s Dictionary Project Description


“What are you writing?” I asked.

“This is my dictionary,” she said. “I write so that I don’t forget the words. I write all the illnesses I have now, and the illnesses I had as a child.”

“Why do you call it a dictionary?” I asked.

“Because it does not require anything from me, nothing. If it were mathematics, I would have to find a solution, an answer. Here, there is only one subject matter, from beginning till the end. . . I write it and read it.”


João Biehl & Catarina Inês Gomes Moraes  

VITA Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment


 ‘CAtArINa’s Dictionary’ is a work in progress initially inspired by an essay by the anthropologist João Biehl ‘A Life: Between Psychiatric Drugs and Social Abandonment’. Struck by the dialogues and excerpts centring around the anthropologists main protagonist Catarina in his book ‘Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment’. In an appendix at the back of the book there are the 19 parts of Catarina’s dictionary. These texts address a universal spectrum of issues that include sexism, paternity, abuse and poverty, presented from a highly personal perspective. It is my hope to bring these texts to the fore in an installation and performance.